Fitness in ectothermic vertebrates is closely associated to the possibility of selecting micro-environments with different environmental temperature (Ta). This can be achieved by physiological and behavioral mechanisms. Both thermoregulation as well as thermoconformity is an adaptive strategy depending on the environment. The associated thermal spots that may act as obstacles for locomotion between suitable and unsuitable thermal microenvironments vary in different habitats and maintaining body temperature (Tb) close to the optimal temperature (To) is only possible when the organisms are capable of surpassing these thermal obstacles. The individual variability could eventually be useful in the face of environmental changes, more specifically of increasing Ta. Within this context, the project aims to explore the role of individual behavior with respect to the decision-making actions and the effects of different thermoregulatory obstacles on the thermoregulatory and exploration behavior of lizards that thermoregulate effectively (Tropidurus torquatus from open environments) against lizards that behave as thermoconformers in their habitat (T. torquatus from the gallery forest). Finally, the results will be discussed in the context of the role of behavioral and physiological mechanisms in the survival of these populations in the face of global warming. We will quantify: 1) the time that lizards stay within the burrows when thermal obstacles are present; 2) the individual variability in the behavior when decisions need to be taken; and (3) the individual variation in variables associated to the exploring behavior (e.g. errors after making decisions, time of exploration before finding suitable burrow) in new environments with different obstacles affect the thermoregulation. The results will allow formulate further hypotheses on the active selection of favorable microenvironments, emigration from hostile habitats, and quantify the risks of extirpation as a result of increases in Ta.
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